TALK

Two industry leaders speak about the future of FA and the potential of JSS

Our President Amano and Hayashi, who has produced results in the field of production technology

The two of them, whose relationship began
with a request from JSS for technical training,
discussed the future of the FA industry and the potential of JSS, which has been reborn.

Please tell me how you two met.

Amano I reached out to him because I wanted to meet him by all means. When I saw Mr. Hayashi’s document containing an outline of production technology at the Robot System Integrator Association, which is currently active, I was very impressed by the content and wanted to speak with him directly.

Hayashi Because I was contacted by President Amano just as I was thinking that the ability of robot system integrators will become necessary for small and medium enterprises, I thought this a godsend. I would gladly share the know-how that I have accumulated if it would serve a purpose.

Amano This makes me happy. My intention is to always present proposals to clients from upstream instead of only working based on specification forms from clients. However, I lack insight on factory operations and comprehensive knowledge regarding the manufacturing industry as a whole… Therefore, I would like to learn from the comprehensive insight regarding the manufacturing industry and factory operations that Mr. Hayashi has accumulated, by all means. Not many companies are able to propose robot system integrators in a straightforward manner to clients to support their factory operations. For example, with digital production technology, it is possible to plot entire factories using simulation software, but this is nothing more than a drawing. It serves no meaning by itself. I believe that we can propose factories that drive revenue by learning from Mr. Hayashi’s insights.

Hayashi I have high hopes for JSS.

JSS is going through a rebirth by producing this training and changing its logo.

Amano  In order to resolve the labor shortage in Japan, smart factories using IoT robotics are all the rage and the introduction of robots is trending, but there is actually a shortage of engineers who implement robots. There is a need to provide solutions to many factories with few engineers. Under these circumstances, making things from scratch will not come close to producing enough.

There is a need for efficient implementation without backtracking by using simulations to modularize the content. I would like to nurture new robot system integrators and more specifically, factory builders and production line builders.

Hayashi That’s right. I would like JSS to develop value-adding businesses that clients can trust to propose production line construction and robot operation with an eye on the entire factory.

Amano Although clients may think that robot system integrators will just recommend robots right away, but that is a big misconception! Their job is not to advance automation and robots, but rather to optimize the entire factory, possibly recommending robots if there is a labor shortage for bottleneck processes or not using any robots or automated machines and improving productivity by adjusting the in-process inventory.

I would like to understand our clients’ circumstances, budget, and ideal factory and aim to provide proposals for overall optimization. I would like to be able to say with confidence that JSS is a factory builder and production line builder.

Hayashi What President Amano just said is exactly what I would like to share. I would like them to create an appeal that is different from existing integrators.

Amano In society as a whole, integrators may be perceived as people who create things exactly as they are told to, but there should be an increase in companies who would like them to provide comprehensive proposals from upstream. I believe that we must be able to achieve this as fast as possible. Because production technology is decreasing in our clients’ factories and it is becoming difficult for companies to build out entire production lines themselves, I believe that there will be more opportunities for us to thrive.

How would you like JSS to impact the industry?

Amano We would like to value proposals from upstream above all else.

Hayashi There aren’t many companies that can offer proposals from upstream. If JSS can take a lead and create something that is irrefutable, I believe that they can take initiative in the industry. I would like to support them by working with them to identify what must be done to make this happen.

Amano That’s right. Engineers do not necessarily prefer working by following specification forms. Unless we become a popular company, we cannot attract new employees. When that happens, we cannot make profits, nurture talent, or integrate new technology… resulting in a negative spiral.

No matter how big the demand is or how popular the company is, nobody wants to work under a structure that does not produce profits. JSS needs to become a desirable company that young people want to work for! On the other hand, we must also be a presence that enables clients to make profits also. When we make proposals from upstream, we can make profits and do interesting work, but there are also corresponding risks involved.

Consulting in its true sense is required, and many people have high hopes for JSS, so we need to be thorough about upstream work even if it involves risks. When we attract attention, students who are entering the workforce will think that we do interesting work.

Hayashi Until now, semiconductors, automobiles, and electronics were the main things that came to mind when thinking about robots, but we need to make leading medium-sized firms focus on robots also and promote the diversification of robots, the resolution of shortage of labor, and improved productivity.

However, there is still a barrier in terms of the characteristics of the companies. I believe that promoting change in these areas is another role for integrators. In order to do so, how can robot system integrator companies showcase their appeal? For people to work with high motivation, it is also important for them to feel the joy of contributing to clients through their ideas and knowledge and feeling approved, in addition to their salaries.

To be able to work while feeling that way means that it is worth making the effort to define requirements from upstream. In that sense, I believe that this is appealing from both the client and the integrator company. Personally, I would like to provide insight based on past achievements and support the growth of human resources that can drive optimization from upstream.

How would you like JSS to advance in the future?

Amano From JSS’s perspective, although we feel a shortage of labor, we are not very concerned.

Because our work is rare, in that it involves being appreciated by clients for things that are created based on our own ideas, it should be appealing to students and engineers in other fields.

In Japan, combined technologies and applied technologies tend to be disregarded, but if we can develop technologies together with manufacturers, we should be able to do interesting things.

The other factor is the appointment of global human resources. Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar are countries where industrialization is accelerating. I would like our company to proactively invite successful students from these countries to Japan so that we can teach them about the latest combined technologies in Japan. I Believe that successful students in Japan will also be inspired by the single-minded and forward-thinking attitude of these students in a competitive manner.

If we can share the joy of working for JSS with the world by also using social media, I am confident that we can undoubtedly attract attention from young people.

Hayashi More than anything, JSS has dreams and a challenging spirit.

In addition to this, I would like JSS to serve as the pioneer of system integration and share its ideal state to the world.

In order to make this happen, I would like to support them as best as I can.

Amano We will do our best to meet your expectations.

Pictured on the right Monozukuri Terrace Representative: Yoshiki Hayashi Japan Society for Production Management Regular Member Production System Practical Model Research Institute Director Industrial Counselor

Joined Fujitsu as a system engineer in 1973 and was involved in the construction of control systems. He then moved to Panafacom (presently PFU Limited). After being involved in minicomputer OS development and development of production technologies to control robots, he began constructing factory production management systems. He took the position of system engineer again in 1997 and carried out management reform of systems, robot control systems, and production management for general companies. He left PFU Limited 10 years ago. He is currently working independently by supporting improved productivity and corporate reform with a focus on leading medium-sized firms and small and medium enterprises in manufacturing.

Pictured on the left Japan Support Systems Ltd. President Shinya Amano

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